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New Multi-Country Study by International Trademark Association Explores Gen Z Purchase Behaviors, Moral Compass
[May 16, 2019]

New Multi-Country Study by International Trademark Association Explores Gen Z Purchase Behaviors, Moral Compass


The International Trademark Association (INTA) today released a comprehensive, multi-country research study that takes a deep dive into the behavior of Gen Z-the largest group of consumers worldwide by 2020-when it comes to their relationship with brands and attitudes toward counterfeit products. The study uniquely explores through a moral versus practical lens what drives Gen Z's decisions to purchase real or counterfeit goods, and offers brand owners a roadmap to communicating with these 18 to 23 year olds.

Among the major findings of the study, titled "Gen Z Insights: Brands and Counterfeit Products," the top factors influencing opinions about fake products are morals and income. While 48 percent of respondents "don't think it's okay or it's totally not okay" to purchase fakes, income beat out morals by 10 percent globally.

"Gen Zers often apply a lens of situational morality to their purchase decisions, and practical considerations can overtake moral ideals," the study found.

But Gen Zers are struggling with this moral versus practical tension. "For me, buying fakes is ethically wrong, but the price of the originals are way too high," summed up Diego, 21, of Argentina, one of the respondents.

The study found that 93 percent of Gen Zers have a strong respect for the value of people's ideas and creations, and 74 percent think it's important to buy genuine products.

Yet, 79 percent of Gen Zers surveyed bought counterfeit goods in the year prior to the study. Their income may be pushing them toward counterfeis: 57 percent said they can only afford the fake version of some brands. In three countries, China, Italy, and Japan, morals outpaced income, however.



The study of the Gen Z psyche is set against two powerful global backdrops. The first is the emergence of Gen Z as the largest demographic group. The second is the proliferation of counterfeiting, estimated to hit $2.81 trillion worldwide by 2020.

Focused on individuals born between 1995 and 2000, the research consisted of qualitative virtual discussions with 30 Gen Zers from four countries in August and September of 2018, followed in November 2018 by a quantitative online survey of 4,500+ Gen Zers from 10 countries: Argentina, China, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, and the United States.


The findings identified three major characteristics and attitudes of Gen Z toward brands and counterfeit products: individuality, morality, and flexibility.

Positively, 91 percent of Gen Zers expressed openness to change their views based on new things they learn.

""It's incumbent on all of us to jump on that opportunity through education. We need to drive home the message that not only are counterfeit products dangerous, they are also socially unacceptable," said INTA President David Lossignol, Head of Trademarks, Domain Names and Copyrights at Novartis Pharma AG in Switzerland.

According to the study, in the next few years, 52 percent expect to purchase fewer counterfeits. Prompting this is their desire for better quality things (66%), their ability to afford the genuine product (37%), and their recognition that buying real goods is "the mature thing to do" (34%).

INTA commissioned Insight Strategy Group, LLC, New York, to conduct the study. The complete study and country-specific reports are available at www.inta.org/impactstudies.

About the International Trademark Association (INTA)

The International Trademark Association (INTA) is a global association of brand owners and professionals dedicated to supporting trademarks and related intellectual property (IP) to foster consumer trust, economic growth, and innovation. For more information, please visit www.inta.org.


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